Though secondhand smoke leads to nearly 50,000 U.S. deaths among nonsmoking adults every year, no southern state, including Texas, has adopted a smoke-free law for worksites, restaurants and bars, according to a new Centers for Disease Control report.
This regional disparity, unveiled in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, comes as Texas lawmakers are debating implementatin of a statewide smoking ban, one that would outlaw smoking in workplaces and other public places like bars and restaurants.
The number of states with comprehensive smoke-free laws rose from zero in 2000 to 26 states by the end of 2010. Ten other states prohibit smoking in either workplaces, bars or restaurants, but not all three. But only three southern states — Florida, Louisiana and North Carolina — have laws that prohibit smoking in two of the three locales.
"Despite the substantial progress made nationally in the past decade, southern states lack statewide laws that prohibit smoking in worksites, restaurants and bars," the report notes — but adds that "many communities in these states have adopted comprehensive local smoke-free laws."
Among the states listed as having no smoking restrictions: Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming.